What We’re Reading- Feb 23, 2018

Wallaby Phylogeny Based on both morphological and limited genetic markers, the phylogeny of wallabies was uncertain.  This paper (open) sequenced the genomes of 11 species of wallabies and kangaroos and built a multi-locus phylogeny.  Three of these species are IUCN listed as “near threatened” (yellow-footed rock wallaby, black wallaroo, and parma wallaby).  The authors observed…

What We’re Reading- Jan 5, 2018

Happy New Year from the WildlifeSNPits team! All the Pretty Birds This open paper investigated the phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships between Kingfishers, an order of birds with 114 species.  Kingfishers are known for their beautiful bright colors, but how the different species are related to each other was partially unknown.  The authors inferred that kingfishers…

What We’re Reading- April 7, 2017

Detecting Disease from Skin Swabs Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is a fungal disease causing amphibian die offs around the world (we wrote about it here).  Given its wide distribution both on hosts and geographically, there’s no surprise that there is genomic variation.  Scientists are interested in this variation to understand virulence, host specificity, and patterns of…

What We’re Reading- Feb 10, 2017

Buzzing Around the Bombus Phylogeny We previously discussed how phylogenetic trees can be useful tools for making conservation decisions, so this paper applying these ideas to the European bumblebee (Bombus) was right up our alley! In this analysis, 58 of the 68 species of bumblebees were categorized based on their IUCN Red List status, then analyzed…

What We’re Reading- Nov 11, 2016

Pangolin Phylogeography There are 8 species of pangolins (Manis spp) distributed throughout Africa and Asia. All of the species are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered with extinction on the IUCN Red List, primarily due to poaching for the chitin rich scales and wild meat. A new paper (sub) investigated genetic diversity in the…

What we’re reading: Sept 4, 2014

Lackadaisical Jockey Camera traps in South Africa reveal an incredibly bizarre behavior! A genet seems to have taken a liking to riding buffalo. The first buffalo shakes the genet off, but the second buffalo doesn’t seem to mind. Scientists are puzzled by this bizarre behavior. Species-Subspecies Boundaries Genetics provides different delineations of species and subspecies…

What we’re reading: Aug 8, 2014

Hybrid Songbirds use Hybrid Migration Routes Neat new paper (open) shows that hybrids between two subspecies of Swainson’s thrushes, show intermediate migration routes from the parental species. Additionally, the authors estimate that selection against hybrids is strong and postulate if migration may constitute an ecological pressure driving speciation. Many Genes of Small Effect This blog…

What we’re reading- June 27, 2014

ESA Recovery Wood storks have been down-listed from endangered to threatened. Always inspirational to see long term conservation actions make a difference! Trophic cascade amongst carnivores Wolves linked to fewer coyotes, but more red foxes. Politically Correct Phylogenetics This paper reviews the history of PC-ness in phylogenetics then argues why we should keep calling things…

What we’re reading- March 14, 2014

Comparative Phylogenetic Methods Honestly, the only thing I read this week were the well written tutorials for the Bodega Bay Phylogenetics Workshop. If you’re interested in getting started with tree building, divergence date estimation, model selection, and evolution of discrete and continuous traits check out the tutorials. Complementary resource include: BEAST Google Group and R…

What we’re reading- Nov 22, 2013

Frog Abnormalities are Rare Results of a 10 year study show that the rate of frog malformations is less than 2% overall. Higher rates occur in local hotspots, with causes of abnormalities varying between locations. Supply-Side Wildlife Trade This study looked at legal (via farming) and illegal (harvested from the wild) trade of the orchid…

What we’re reading- Nov 15, 2013

Fossil Skull of Oldest Big Cat Ever Found Panthera blytheae, identified from specimens collected in Tibet, is estimated to be between 4 and 5 million years old. New Statistical Methods for Fossil Calibrating Phylogenetic Trees Speaking of fossils, Heath and colleagues develop a new method for using fossils with uncertain phylogenetic tree placement to aid…